Startup Chat: Xente An Emerging eCommerce Force in Uganda

In Uganda, start ups are almost popping up on a daily and so many come with brilliant ideals that could be needed in the market but we have also seen a vast majority close before they can celebrate 2 years anniversary.

Speaking to a business investment analyst Michelle Mboha with Growth Africa, she says that the reason majority of the start ups struggle in Uganda is because most of them do not have an actual business plan or strategy.

Xente which is an e-payments, eCommerce, & Financial services company offering various products and services that can be paid for using Mobile Money (Airtel Money, MTN Mobile Money), Bank Card (Visa Card, MasterCard), Xente wallet & on credit, is one of the few startups in Uganda that are looking to stay in an eco-system that has seen many fail.

Some of the products consumers can buy include; Airtime, Data bundles, pay water & electricity bill services, TV subscription services, buy event tickets, movie tickets, bus tickets & more.

Businesses can sell from our Omni-channel platform through our Xente apps & website, or through their own channels (websites, apps, Retail POS, Social Media stores or any other mobile channels).

With Xente, clients are able to pay for services like movies, send mobile money, buy data, deposit money into bank accounts and so much more.

According to the Public Relations Officer at Xente Lyn Tukei “The company exists to move Africa from the analog to the digital economy, to make African businesses compete favorably in the digital economy.”

98% of Africa’s economy is analog. What that means is that people and businesses transact in physical locations using cash. This is inconvenient and inefficient. Xente is upgrading the African economy to the more efficient digital economy where transactions are done anywhere, anytime and payments are cashless.

‘Our vision at Xente is to connect 100 million African people and 50,000 African businesses in the next 10 years’. Currently, Xente is targeting African businesses and people who deal with them.

The market response is not what the team at Xente had imagined or planned but they say that slowly but surely they are getting there and they are trying to convince people with businesses to use digital transactions and not cash.

Marketing acquisition has always and will remain to be a big issue for startups and for Xente they have had to rely on adopters who help to refine and evangelize the product. Then there is the fast followers. The team believes that  if you listen to your early adopters and fast followers they will teach you enough to go mainstream.

In Uganda currently, two issues are happening, few people can access the internet but also few have smartphones, so we asked Xente if they had a solution for those who have no smartphones and this is what they had to say, “We are not planning for none smart phone users – we can’t be everything to everybody. We are banking on the fact that more and more people will get access to smart phones and since we are optimized for that , we will be the best choice.”

Total commitment, resilience and focus to solve customer problems to be the stand out startup in Uganda but also to keep up with a very tricky ecosystem.

Lyn Tukei the company PRO emphasizes that team work and commitment is very important in any startups if they want to be able to realize good results and ensure that they will remain competitive.

Allan Rwakatungu the founder and CEO of Xente leads a group of young people motivated to transform transactions in Africa.

Just like Africans leapfrogged landlines to mobile phones, we believe Africa will do the same for the digital economy and everyone will purchase whatever they want digitally – and we intend to be catalyst for that. This is not a solo job – the banks, telecoms, development partners, government are all playing their part and it will happen.  – Allan Rwakatungu the Xente founder says.

 

Also read: Kenya Gets Malaria Vaccine

 

Author: Moses Echodu

Moses is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Programs Manager at the Craft Silicon Foundation. He loves writing about sports, politics and news around the globe and Inspiring new young people!!

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